Sunday, September 26, 2010

Leaders: Avoid the Rarified Air!

What a wonderful piece of advice for leaders from A&E Television Networks CEO Abbe Raven, published in the New York Times:

Q. Let’s say you’re on a cross-country flight, and you sit down next to someone who, it turns out, is on track to become C.E.O. at her company. And she asks you, “What do I need to know?”

A. I would tell them to avoid rarefied air.

Q. And what does that mean?

A. There are many executives who only travel on private planes, go from office to car to home to a hotel, and you’re not really experiencing the world. I take the train in every day. I look at what people are reading, watching, what devices they’re using. I go shopping. I buy the milk in the house. I watch TV.

You want to make sure that you’re in touch with not only your employees, but also your customers and your viewers, and what they like and don’t want. Be out there. Don’t let yourself get trapped in your office. You need to be in the world. And the world is not just other executives.

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